In times of crisis, the CSR, or the corporate social responsibility, becomes more important than ever. Contributing to society’s struggle against a disease which has obstructed so many operations for almost a year is an obligation we all share. At least that’s the theory. So, how does it look in practice?
The Social Responsibility of Big (and Smaller) Tech
The COVID-19 crisis really highlighted the urgency of embracing digital transformation in business and industry. For many companies, the immediate digitalization was the only way to stay afloat and keep up with the ever-changing dynamics of the New Normal. That, in turn, showed us just how much responsibility tech industry bears in an economy growing more and more dependent on technology.
This responsibility, however, does not pertain solely to the world of business. The pandemic affected almost every area of our lives. In many of them, technology helped soften the blow at least a little bit. It was invaluable in maintaining social relations and boosting connectivity in the schooling system. It also played its part in the resolution (albeit partial) of the crisis — but more on that later.
In difficult times, all companies, whether big or small, are put to the test in terms of the values they proclaim. They can either uphold them and sustain some short-term losses or risk losing the customer’s and stakeholder’s trust in the long term. Fortunately, for some, the corporate social responsibility is more than just a buzzword.
The Big Tech Response to Crisis
According to the company’s website, Apple‘s donations to the global COVID-19 response reached USD 15 million worldwide. It was meant to help both the sick and those who suffer from the economic impact of the pandemic. In addition, Apple made sure that the hourly workers continued to receive pay even though many of them were unable to work during lockdowns.
Shortly after the start of the first lockdown, Honeywell informed the public that they would expand the face mask production to support U.S. government’s COVID-19 response efforts. Millions of N95 disposable masks were sent to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and distributed among health and safety workers. Moreover, the addition of the new production line created 500 new jobs in Smithfield, Rhode Island.
As for other giants: Cisco committed USD 225 million in cash and products to global COVID-19 response. Their main focus was ’supporting healthcare and education, government response and critical technology’. Microsoft, in turn, committed to paying out-of-work hourly workers, and Google helped the public agencies to spread crucial information on COVID-19 through their own products, such as Google Search, Maps, and YouTube.
The wide response of the tech sector to the COVID-19 crisis is certainly symptomatic to the evolution of corporate attitudes towards social responsibility resulting from changing consumer preferences. Many surveys and reports show that more and more (even as much as 71%, according to 5W Consumer Culture Report) customers prefer companies aligned with their values. It’s hardly surprising, then, that the Big Tech is adapting to this new environment and tries to respond accordingly.
That, however, is not the sole domain of the Silicon Valley giants.
The Vaccine Cold Chain
At Contee, we also had a chance to contribute to the struggle against COVID-19 to the best of our abilities. And since what we do best is hire staff experienced with high technology to optimize or automate business and industrial processes, there was one thing that instantly crossed our minds: let’s help make the process of vaccine distribution safer and more efficient!
Team we have assembled for one of our clients developed Vaccine Cold Chain – a complex IoT solution which ensures a safe delivery of vaccines from the factory to the doctor’s office. It’s based on high frequency RFID tags attached to every vaccine container. The tags each posses a unique ID and can be traced during the whole transportation route, providing important environmental data, such as temperature or level of UV-radiation.
That, of course, is only a part of the system. Special modules with dedicated antennas were installed at every critical point of the route in order to obtain regular updates on the state of vaccines via a centralized cloud database. The data from the RFID tags is analyzed at every checkpoint and all environmental issues that could pose a threat to the safety of the vaccines are automatically reported to the operator, which minimizes the risk of damage and helps transport the containers safely to their destination.
All Help Matters
As a company specialized in highly tech skilled people, we understand both our responsibility and unique ability to help society in times of need. In the world so dependent on technology, we must do what we can to facilitate and optimize the vital processes aiming to make our lives easier.
Fortunately, we are not alone in this struggle, as many businesses around the globe become more mindful of the impact they have on society and the world around them. Some can afford to help on a bigger and some on a smaller scale. Nevertheless, all help matters, and as the COVID-19 crisis showed us, it’s absolutely imperative to understand the social responsibilities that running a business entails.
The corporate social responsibility is an important subject. At Contee, we are particularly committed to spreading the values such as sustainability and waste reduction. That’s why our company’s purpose is to bring about the efficiency transformation of business and industry.